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AIŁ, holy Light! offspring of Heav'n first-born!

Or of th’ May I express thee' unblam'd ? fince God is light, And never but in unapproached light Dwelt from eternity; dwelt then in thee,

5 Bright effluence of bright eflence increate. Or hear'st chou rather pure ethereal stream, Whose fountain who shall tell ? Before the fun, Before the heav'ns thou wert, and at the voice Of God, as with a mantle didt invest The rifing world of waters dark and deep, Won from the void and formless infinite. Thee I revisit now with bolder wing, Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd In that obscure sojourn ; while in my flight Through utter and through middle darkness borne, With other notes than to th’Orphéan lyre, I fung of Chaos and eternal Night, Taught by the heav'nly Muse to.venture down, The dark descent, and up to realcend,

20 Though hard and rare. Thee I revisit safe, And feel thy sov'reign vital lamp; but thou Revisit'it not these eyes, that roll in vain To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn; So thick a drop ferene hath quench'd their orbs, 25




Or dim suffusion veild. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander, where the Muses haunt
Clear spring, or shady grove, or funny hill,
Smit with the love of facred song; but chief
Thee, Sion, and the flow'ry brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget
Those other two equall'd with me in fate,
So were I equall'd with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris, and blind Mæonides,
And Tirelias, and Phineus, prophets old :
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with tbe year 40
Seasons return; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud inftead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
Presented with an universal blank
Of nature's works, to me expung'd and raz'd,
And wisdom at one entrance quite fhut out. -30
So much the rather thou, celestial Light,
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mift from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may fee and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.

55 "Now had th'almighty Father from above, From the pure empyréan where he fits High thron’d above all height, bent down his eye, His own works and their works at once to view : About him all the fancities of heaven

60 Stood thick as stars, and from his fight receivid





Beatitude palt utterance: on his right
The radiant image of his glory fat,
His only Son. On earth he first beheld
Our two first parents, yet the only two
Of mankind, in the happy garden plac'd,
Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love
Uninterrupted joy, unrivall'd love,
In blissful folitude. He then survey'd
Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there
Coafting the wall of heav'n on this fide Night
In the dun air sublime, and ready now
To stoop, with wearied wings and willing feet
On the bare outside of this world, that seem'd
Firm land imbofom'd, without firmament; 75
Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.
Him God beholding from his prospect high,
Wherein past, present, future, he beholds,
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake.

Only begotten Son, feest thou what rage
Transports our adverfary? whom no bounds
Prefcrib'd, no bars of hell, nor all the chains
Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyss
Wide interrupt can hold; fo bent he seems
On desperate revenge, that fall redound
Upon his own rebellious head. And now,
Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his way
Not far off heav'n, in the precincts of light,
Directly towards the new-created world,
And man there plac'd, with purpose to essay

go If him by force he can destroy, or worse, By fome false guile pervert; and shall pervert; For man will hearken to his glosling lies, And easily transgress the sole command, Sole pledge of his obedience : so will fall,

95 He and his faithless progeny. Whose fault? Whose but his own ?. Ingrate, he had of me




All he could have: I made him juft and right,
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
Such I created all th' ethereal powers

And spi'rits, both them who stood, and them who fail'd;
Freely they stood who food, and fell who fell.
Not free, what proof could they have giv'n fincere
Of true allegiance, constant faith or love,
Where only what they needs must do appear'd, 105
Not what they would? what praise could they receive
What pleasure I from such obedience paid,
When will and reason (reason alfo'is choice,)
Useless and vain, of freedom both despoild,
Made pallive both, had ferv'd necellity,

Not me? They therefore, as toʻright belong'd,
So were created, nor can justly' accuse
Their Maker, or their making, or their fate,
As if predestination over-ruld
Their will, dispos'd by absolute decree

Or high foreknowledge. They themselves decreed
Their own revolt, not I: if I foreknew,
Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault,
Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown.
So without least impulse or shadow' of fate,
Or ought by me immutably foreseen,
They trespass, authors to themselves in all,
Both what they judge and what they chufe ; for fo
I form'd them free, and free they must remain,
Till they inthrall themselves; I else must change 125
Their nature, and revoke the high decrec
Unchangeable, eternal, which ordain'd
Their freedom; they themselves ordain’d their fall.
The first fort by their own suggestion fell,
Self-tempted, self-deprav'd: man falls, deceiv'd 130
By th' other first: man therefore shall find grace,
The other none: in mercy' and justice both,
Through heaven and earth, so Thall my glory' excel;



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But mercy first and last shall brightest shine.

Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fillid All heaven, and in the blessed fpi'rits elect Sense of new joy ineffable diffusid: Beyond compare the Son of God was seen Most glorious ; in him all his Father hone Subftantially express'd; and in his face Divine compassion visibly appear'd, Love without end, and without measure grace; Which uttering thus be to his father fpake.

O father, gracious was that word which clos'd Thy fov'reign sentence, that man hould find grace ; For which both beav'n and earth shall high extol 146 Thy praises, with th' innumerable found Of hymns and facred songs, wherewith thy throne lacompafs’d sball resound thee ever blefs’d. For should man finally be loft, should man 150 Thy creature late so lov'd, thy youngest fon, Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though join'd With his own folly ? that be from thee far, That far be from thee, Father, who art judge Of all things made, and judgest only right. 155 Or shall the adversary thus obtain His end, and frustrate thine ? fball he fulfil His malice, and thy goodness bring to nought, Or proud return, though to his heavier doom, Yet with revenge accomplish'd, and to hell 160 Draw after him the whole race of mankind, By him corrupted ? or wilt thou thyfelf Abolish thy creation, and unmake For him, what for thy glory thou hast made ? So should thy goodness and thy greatness both 165 Be question'd and blafphem'd without defence,

To whom the great Creator thus reply'd. O Son, in whom my soul hath chief delight, Son of my bosom, Son who art alone


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